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Ian Bruce

Risk-free betting is wagering in the knowledge that part or all of your stake will be returned to you if your bet loses. It sounds like a bettor’s dream, but it’s perfectly achievable. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about wagering with a risk free bet, including how it works and how to do it.

How Does Risk-Free Betting Work?

Risk-free betting is possible because online betting sites in the UK are always looking for ways to attract new customers. (They aren’t failing, either – the Gambling Commission says that the industry was worth £15.1 billion from April 2022 to March 2023!)

One of the main ways they do that is by offering a variety of bonuses and promotions. And the risk-free bet offer is one of them.

Sports bettors aren’t generally afraid of taking risks, but if there’s any way of reducing them, we’re all for it. Bookmakers know that, and that’s why they thought of giving us risk free bet offers in the first place.

The most common risk free bet comes in the form of a refund on any early losses you experience, up to a certain maximum. For example, a bookmaker might offer you, ‘50% Back on First-Day Losses, Up To £50’.

In this case, you could sign up for an account with the bookie in question, make a deposit, and start betting. If, at the end of your first day, you have lost money overall, you’d get 50% back, up to the advertised maximum of £50. Such refunds of losses are normally given to you as free bet credits. You can then bet with those credits, just as you would with your own money.

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Ian Bruce

Risk-Free Bet vs Free Bet

It’s important to understand from the outset that a risk free bet isn’t quite the same as a free bet. As we’ve just explained, a risk free bet usually requires you to first bet with your own cash. Then, if you lose, some or all of your losses are covered by the bookie. 

So what is a free bet? And how does a free bet work? Well, a free bet is a bet token or credit that you can actually bet with instead of using money. Free bets still only tend to be awarded when you deposit cash, but they’re yours to use regardless of whether your cash bets win or lose.

Common Terms and Conditions for Risk Free Bets

Many bookmakers like to be generous with their promotions. But not so generous that they leave themselves vulnerable to exploitation by those who don’t have a real interest in betting. For that reason, all risk free bet offers are subject to certain terms and conditions. The exact terms will vary from bookie to bookie, and from bonus to bonus, but some of the most common conditions are as follows:

➡️Minimum Qualifying Deposit – You will normally be asked to deposit a minimum sum of money to qualify for the risk free bet offer. This is usually quite a modest amount, such as £10. This rule aims to bar access to anyone who isn’t really interested in betting with their own money.

➡️Minimum Bet Odds – When you come to make a bet with your cash, you’ll normally be required to bet at minimum qualifying odds. For example, you might be asked to bet at minimum odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater.

➡️Specified Period – Bookmakers will stipulate when your position will be assessed to determine whether you have won or lost money overall. With a first-day losses refund offer, that will normally be at 23:59 on the day you make your initial bet.

➡️Markets and Bet Types – Some betting sites might include additional terms that tell you which sports markets and bet types qualify for their offer and which ones don’t. For example, you might not be able to bet on accumulators, which have a higher chance of losing than straightforward win bets. Other bookies will be happy to let you bet on whatever you want.

The terms and conditions will also include information about how your refund will be awarded should you end up in a losing position. You’ll be told when your refund will be issued, how much it will be for, and what form it will take. If a refund will be given as a sportsbook free bet, details of when and how that can be used will also be provided. It will also be made clear that, if you win with a free bet, you will only receive your winnings, and not the free bet stake itself.

Most promotional terms and conditions are clear and simple to understand. However, if you are at all confused about an offer, all you have to do is reach out to the customer service team at your chosen betting site and they will be happy to explain things personally.

Risk Free Betting Strategy and Tips

The simplest way of risk-free betting is to find a deal that you like and take advantage of it. But these offers are so widely available that it’s also possible to take a more organised approach. Here are some tips on how to adopt a risk-free betting strategy for the long term.

✅Bet Sensibly

Just because the bookie is giving you a safety net of some description doesn’t mean you should take a casual approach to betting. Assess the opportunities carefully, study the form and bet with your head. Ideally, you want your bets to win, because that way you get a cash return, and not just a refund in the form of free bet sportsbook credits.

✅Risk Free Betting Guaranteed Win Strategy

Another approach worth considering is to take advantage of risk-free betting offers from several bookies at the same time. You could then bet on an event with a limited number of outcomes and cover all of them for a guaranteed win.

For example, if you like to bet on football you could choose a competitive match that’s hard to predict. You could then bet on the home win with one bookie, on the away win with another and on the draw with a third. One of your bets is sure to win, giving you a cash profit. And the other two will lose, giving you full or partial refunds as a free match bet or two.


✅Use Free Bets Strategically

If and when you receive a refund in the form of free bets, be sure to also use those free bets strategically. For example, you could use them to cover potential dangers to your main selection in a competitive event. Or you could use them to try and land wins in particularly challenging markets that you don’t often invest in yourself, such as correct score markets.

Yet another option for those who like to bet on horse racing might be to use a free bet on a decent-priced form favourite in a competitive race. You could then go to a betting exchange to try and lay the same horse at a lower price in running. That’s a more complicated approach, but it’s a perfectly viable one.

Where to Find Risk Free Bet Offers

As we said earlier, bookmakers run risk-free promotions to try and attract new players, so they tend to shout about them. That’s good for us because it makes them relatively easy to find. Keep an eye on the best betting sites featured on our home page and you can scroll through to see what each one is offering in the way of new customer promotions. Be sure to come back often, as our collection of the best sites is always growing and the available offers are constantly updated.

Pros and Cons of Risk-Free Betting

Like anything in the world of sports betting, risk-free betting has both its advantages and its disadvantages. The main ones are outlined below:


  • Risk-free betting can help you get off to the best possible start with a new bookmaker. If your own bet wins, you can celebrate. But if it doesn’t, free bets and matched betting offers can help you live to bet another day. This is very good news. Especially for those who are new to sports betting and haven’t yet developed much confidence in their winner-picking abilities.
  • The risk-free betting offer is becoming increasingly popular with bettors, so they’re quite easy to find. And because you aren’t restricted to betting with just one bookmaker, you can take advantage of several offers if you want to do that.
  • Risk-free bets can be particularly useful when used strategically. For example, a few savvy bettors use them to make guaranteed win bets by covering every possible outcome in an event. You could do something similar. You just need to find several bookies with the right offers.


  • You won’t always get the full risk of your bet covered. Instead, you might get just 50% of losses refunded, in which case only part of your risk is removed.
  • Refunds of losses are most commonly given as free bets. That means you’ll need to use those bets with the same bookmaker to try and convert them into cash.
  • Terms and conditions may stipulate what kind of markets you can bet in. They may also restrict the types of bets you can make and the minimum odds of qualifying selections.

Reduce Your Risk Today

Risk-free betting allows you to wager on sporting events and get some or all of your money back if you lose. Different risk-free offers will provide different guarantees. But essentially you’ll be compensated to at least some extent if your bet goes bad. This is something that all bettors can benefit from, so consider taking advantage of any that you see and good luck with your bets.


What is a no risk bet?

How do free bets work?

Is risk-free betting illegal?

What does a risk-free bet mean?

Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce joined Safest Betting Sites in 2024 as Senior Sports Editor to oversee the quality and usefulness of its gambling content. He originally developed an interest in betting after landing a winning Yankee on his first attempt. He then spent years figuring out how to replicate that success. Along the way, he became one of the UK’s leading writers on the topic of betting and gaming. Ian’s career has now spanned more than three decades, and his enthusiasm for systematic and responsible betting hasn’t waned one bit. However, his preferred approach to winning these days is Dutching, for the simple reason that “It’s a lot easier than landing Yankees.”